Lincolnshire attractions join disability scheme

Heritage attractions in Lincolnshire are joining a scheme to support people who have hidden disabilities.

Named the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme, it aims to help visitors with hidden disabilities including autism, Asperger syndrome, dementia and more. The idea is people can choose to wear a sunflower-patterned lanyard as a subtle indicator to staff that they may need support at any point during their visit.

The organisations taking part include Lincoln Castle, The Collection museum, the Usher Gallery, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre, the Museum of Lincolnshire Life and Gainsborough Old Hall.

Madeleine Hawkins, visitor experience team Leader at Lincoln Castle, said  people who visit the attractions should not feel “intimidated”.

The lanyards are distinctly patterned.

She said: “If they’re wearing that lanyard, our staff know that they might need some additional help. It might not be much. It might just be reaching something off a shelf or carrying a tray for them in the café.

“It even goes as far as having an autistic child who is suffering a bit of a meltdown from being over-stimulated. We can find them a quiet room so they can carry on with their visit and not have to leave.”

The scheme is already in place in UK supermarkets, airports including Heathrow and Gatwick and sports venues like Wembley Stadium.

Madeleine added: “There was a family at Gatwick Airport who had a child with autism. He wasn’t good with being in large numbers of people with big queues and bright lights and all those things you get at airports. And because he had his lanyard on,  staff could see them in the queue and pulled them to the front and they got straight through check-in.”

To get a lanyard at any of the Lincolnshire attractions, visitors simply need to ask for one at reception.